New eatery as planned suburb puts down roots
ONE of the downsides of new developer-planned communities like Casuarina, south of Kingscliff, can be the lack of community cohesion and infrastructure despite the large residential population.
That was one of the factors that inspired Kingscliff couple Mick and Jacki Calyk to open Black Oak Restaurant on Casuarina Way.
The couple, who moved to the region from Melbourne eight years ago, wanted to provide a venue for locals to meet and mingle.
The modern Australian restaurant with a European edge, is only the third such dining option in the suburb behind the Spice Den and Osteria, as the community slowly evolves.
The head chef, Doran Daws, prides himself on sourcing most of the restaurant produce from the local region.
Black Oak, fittingly, is the common name of the Casuarina Tree and also reflects Mick's love of wine.
The Calyk's say the steady clientele they attracted from the get go proved the demand for such a venue.
"Word of mouth has been really kind to us," said Jacki.
"A lot of the local residents are meeting up here."
The couple's daughter, Stephanie, was a key designer behind the elegant interior which includes a thriving green wall which provides a striking entryway.
The restaurant had sat empty since the launch of the Cotton Beach precinct in 2008 until the Calyk's opened on New Year's Eve last year.
Prior to that the couple had been running the hole-in-the-wall Saltbean Expresso at Salt, but for 18 months had been looking for an opportunity for a more upmarket eatery.
The restaurant is so closely hemmed in by residents that it's not surprising that there's been one or two vocal opponents, wrongly say the Calyk's, fearing excessive noise and drunken hijinks.
But the couple say the vast majority have welcomed them with open arms recognising that such a venue is good not only for the community but also property values.